The Nature and Scope of Philosophy

What is philosophy? What are its proper tasks? These are themselves philosophical questions, hospitable debate. In early Greek philosophy, there was no clear distinction between philosophy and science. Philosophy was simply “the love of wisdom,” and it encompassed any field during which significant insights into the human condition and our world were believed to be found., the scope of philosophy progressively narrowed, culminating within the ultraminimalist view of some twentieth-century linguistic philosophers that philosophers are glorified lexicographers and concept analyzers, with no role to play aside from as parsers and elucidators of language.

Most contemporary philosophers adopt a view somewhere within the middle between these very broad and really narrow conceptions of the right scope of philosophy. Though philosophers often affect issues which will seem quite technical and hairsplitting, at its core philosophy still deals with the large questions of life that exceed the ken of the physical and social sciences: Why am I here? Does life have meaning? Does God exist? Is there life after death? am i able to know what true reality is? How should I live? What should my goals and values “be? what's an honest society? Philosophy remains most electric and vital when it remains in close contact with these big existential questions.”

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